Budget friendly zero waste family holidays – where to go when you are avoiding flying.
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We have reached the time of the year when I start to turn my attention towards our Summer* holiday. This may seem a little bit late but as a family of Aquarians all three of us (My Husband, daughter and I) celebrate our birthdays in January and February. So, it is always post Christmas, post birthdays that I start to miss the warmer days of Summer. This year, we are on a very tight budget. Ordinarily, with a tight budget this would see me booking a cheap week in the sun to ‘fly & flop’ with a few trips thrown in. However, trying to reduce our carbon footprint has made me think twice about this option.

So, where can we holiday on a total budget of £1000-£1500 that also ticks the low carbon footprint/eco friendly box? My first thought was short haul with a flight of two or three hours. After giving this some thought, I realised this is still a step further than I am prepared to go in the current environmental climate. EasyJet have a banner on their main page stating they are leading the industry in sustainable travel. The blurb tells me they are offsetting their carbon emissions by investing in planting trees, protecting against deforestation or funding renewable energy sources. They also state this is an interim goal whilst they work on more environmentally friendly ways to fly such as solar. The full policy can be found here: https://www.easyjet.com/en/sustainability. This all seems like a promising start but I think for me, I want to practise what I preach and make the best choice available to us as a family. I am not convinced that at the moment, flying is that choice despite the efforts of the airlines.

Next, I looked into train travel. A viable, greener option. Unfortunately, living in the countryside our options for decent rail travel are somewhat limited. And expensive. We are a four hour car journey away from Folkstone and France isn’t topping the list of our must visit places this year.

So, the UK started to hold more appeal. We looked at the following options:

  • Cornwall – Fairly local to us, beautiful beaches, stunning scenery and lovely towns. Lots of accommodation types including quirky options and luxury hotels.
  • Scotland – Highlands and Islands are of particular interest. A few years ago we spent a lovely Christmas & New Year travelling Scotland in a borrowed motorhome. We didn’t make it as far the Highlands so it is definitely one we would love to visit again.
  • Wales – We are welsh, living in Somerset. Wales has a beautiful coastline, lovely seaside towns and the capital city, Cardiff, is one of my personal favourites. We are dog sitting for my father in law for a week in June so we will be visiting here anyway. The reason I haven’t made this into our family holiday is I suspect we will be quite restricted with the dogs. However, I will be adding a blog post I June with our trips around South and Mid Wales.

These are all great options, all of which I am sure we will look into again. However, I don’t know if you have ever travelled with a teenager? Keeping our just-turned-15-year-old happy requires more than a beach (which she will likely wear a jumper to in the middle of a heat wave) or a pretty coastal town (where she seems to genuinely believe everyone is over 68) Even nice weather is not enough to guarantee a good time, but rain? That is sure to wipe out any chance of a family day out in more rural areas. Speaking with other parents of teens, this seems to be fairly standard form so we are riding it out and hoping it is just hormones. So without guaranteed sunshine, a pool and lure of all inclusive sugary drinks around the clock….how to have a family holiday on a budget?

Portobello Road 2377084 960 720
London is a great destination for a holiday. Packed full of culture and fun and very achievable on a budget!

And the winner is…LONDON! Not the first place that comes to mind when you think budget but due to cheap advance booking bus/train travel and Travelodge accommodation near to underground links (we are looking at Walthamstow – a fraction of the price of Central London and excellent underground links) it is actually a very reasonable choice. There is plenty to see without paying a penny from art galleries to museums, street performers to historic landmarks. You can entertain yourself around our wonderful capital city on a budget to suit. On top of that, scouring for discount vouchers is part of the fun, not to mention a great lesson in budgeting for the teenager! Of course, we will be throwing in a few more expensive trips but we will be spacing them out with the cheap and free options. The best bit for us is the plethora of vegan fayre on offer means we won’t struggle for delicious food from around the world. All from the comfort of our very own country. Charity shops, vintage stalls and handmade delights are in keeping with our ethos and London provides of all of these by the truck load. But what about sunshine? Well, that really is pot luck. We have only been once, in July about four years ago, we had a heatwave the entire time. It was fantastic but did make for long, tiring days. So if the weather is wet or cold we can handle it, we are Brits after all! We will just make the most of the British Summer when it hits us and have the odd day at local beaches throughout the holiday.

I will be starting to plan our trip, including costs on this blog over the coming weeks. Feel free to check it out if it is of interest. As a heads up I think it will be around £400-£500 for accommodation and return travel to London from Bristol (via bus) but I will be looking into the costs in more detail before booking. Unfortunately, the tickets for buses/trains are not released more than three months in advance so booking for later in the year is not possible. *As a side note, due to our daughter being home educated for most of the week (she attends college twice a week) we are looking at going when the deals are best, even if this means missing a few days college. Our reasoning being it will be more educational than the two days she will miss. Also, these perks are one of the benefits of home educate – and also the reason we have a limited budget as I work part time to be at home to educate.

Are you planning a Summer holiday? If so, where have you chosen to go and why?

Until next time,

Kate xx

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